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Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency of Large Datacenters

Ground-up creation of a powerful and practical tool to actively monitor, optimize, and control server power utilization and thermal limits through iterative, user-centered design.

CLIENT | Dell Inc.

CHALLENGE

Producing exceptional user-centred designs with rapidly changing requirements and massive data sets in a Global Multi-disciplinary team.

OUTCOME

Users and companies were given much, much more information about the state of their datacenters,  yet at the same time they were able to monitor and manage their datacenters in a supremely efficient and understandable, yet powerful way  - reducing costs both in real terms in datacenter operational efficiency and in time and personnel.

"The designs that I'm seeing for PM3 so far are outstanding! 

Are we going to be able to expect the same level of wireframing / visual design work in future products?”

Dell Director of Software Engineering

Large datacenters generate massive amounts of data and are extremely complex and costly to run. Dell and Intel wanted to create an application that would  improve a company's ability to monitor and manage power and thermals in large datacentres more effectively and efficiently.

The project was to be the first major project to use Dell's Clairity II Experience Ecosystem for rapid modern web application development, but the design began with nothing beyond that, and, additionally,  it was the design team's first major Agile project.

Application Architecture and Concepting

We began by producing a series of concepts based in a user needs analysis - concepts ranging from advanced to more traditional, with varying levels of implementation complexity balanced against user needs.

Design Iteration

We iterated the design from these concepts with end-users, product management, the central design group, and engineering to select a concept direction and we designed the entire application architecture, workflow, all interaction design, annotated wireframes, and usability and design insights research.

User Insight and Feedback

User feedback and insights from users interacting with designs throughout the design and development process is the cornerstone of user-centered design - we believe you aren't designing properly if you aren't testing your designs with users - so we also created and executed usability and end-user experience design insight research with interactive prototypes to improve and validate the design.

Ultimately, we designed a massive ready-to-use data-center management application from the ground up in a matter of months, created designs and concepts that would be re-used by multiple future products (and are still used today), made the job of the development team much easier, and produced an exceptional project for the internal design team, recognized by Executive Leadership.

PM3 was eventually re-branded and currently ships as Dell OpenManage Power Center